a taxicab came to a stop near an apartment building.
and, as the doors opened..Two Mobian of eighteen years stepped out.
One a Squirrel/Chipmunk hybrid dressed in blue,
and, a yellow furred Mongoose with long, lavender hair.
as the anthros stared at the "Iron Arms" Apartment Complex,
the human taxi driver spoke up. "That'll be Fifty Bucks, ladies."
Sally Acord took out her wallet, and gave the man a gold credit card.
"Pleasure doin' business with you, Miss." said the driver, as he handed the card back and drove off.
Sally and Mina stared at the apartment building one more time.
"are you..s-Sure she is here?!" stuttered Mina.
Sally nodded. "Positive. My contacts on G.U.N. confirm that NICOLE has been living here for quite some time."
Sally turned on a Tablet Computer-like device, and reviewed some notes. "let's see, Westopolis..Iron Arms Apartments..Suite 184."
Mina frowned sadly. "I knew NICOLE wanted to go someplace far after her exile..but, I didn't think she'd run THIS far away from us."
Sally sighed sharply. "Nor did I, Mina. I can only hope she's been adapting okay living with the Overlanders."
Sally and Mina finally approached the apartment building, and entered the main lobby.
approaching the reception desk, Sally struggled to reach the high up counter and ring the service bell.
In no time at all, and rather chipper human woman with blonde hair approached. "helloooo..How may I help you??"
"Hi. I am Princess Sally Acorn, and this is my friend, Mina Mongoose." began Sally.
Mina waved. "h-hi."
"We were wondering if you could confirm whether we cam find an old friend of ours here." continued Sally.
the woman smiled. "Oh, you must be referring to the Lynx Girl who lives with Mr. Flynn."
"NICOLE!?" said Sally, hopefully.
"yep!, that's her name! You'll find her in Room #184. But, you probably won't miss It, even if you tried."
Sally looked puzzled. "I am not sure I follow-"
"Trust me, your highness..YOU'LL KNOW."
the Squirrel/Chipmunk shrugged her shoulders. "well..If you say so. Come on, Mina."
the two mobians made their way down the long corridors of the building.
each of their eyes trained on the numbered doors at both side.
As they walked down the path, they heard a distance female voice.
Even at their current distance, Sally recognized It all to well.
"NICOLE!!" Sally began running (as did Mina) towards the source of the voice.
as they grew closer, they found that It was INDEED NICOLE's voice..and, that she was singing.
'When this Began, I had nothing. to. say.
And I would get lost in the nothingness inside. of. me.
I was confused, And I let it all out to find,
that I'm Not the only person with these things in my mind.'
"Is that..REALLY NICOLE!?" said Sally, as she continued to run. "WOW..she-She has a beautiful singing voice."
'But the vacancy, and the words revealed.
Is the only real thing that I have left to feel.' continued NICOLE, he tone getting more solem.
'nothing to lose. Just stuck, hollow and alone.
And the fault is my own, And the FAULT is my OWN!!'
Mina felt her heart sink. tears formed as she realized the true meaning of NICOLE's song.
'I want to HEAL!, I want to FEEL!..What I see was never real!
I want to let go of this pain I have felt so long..
I want to HEAL!, I want to FEEL!..Like I'm close to something REAL.
I want to find something that I have wanted all along..'
the two Mobians at last reached the door labeled "184", and stopped at It.
'Somewhere I BELONG.' finished Nicole, her tone low and quiet.
Mina couldn't contain herself. she began to cry softly as she stared at the cold door.
"this is all my fault." said Mina. "I turned everyone against NICOLE, and drove her away."
Sally placed her hand on Mina's shoulder. "you were AFRAID, Mina..You were just doing what you thought was right."
"Right!? I spread Fear, hatred and distrust. I betrayed our friend by turning everyone against her!"
"Well..That is why we are here: To make things right." said Sally
Sally motioned towards the door, implying Mina to knock on the door.
BUT, the Mongoose didn't have the nerve. exhaling, Sally began to knock on the door herself.
after a few minutes, the door opened..and, a human male with greenish-black hair greeted them.
(though, It didn't take long to figure out who they were..to which he promptly frowned.)
"oh..It's YOU. (sigh) figured you would turn up here eventually."
"You must be Flynn." said Sally, ignoring the man's coldness.
"Daniel Flynn, Your Highness." said Danny, suddenly good natured.
Mina walked up. "H, Dann-"
"That's MISTER Flynn to YOU, "Songgoose." said Danny to Mina, his tone suddenly aggressive.
Mina cringed, knowing full well know that only Sally was welcome company here.
"May we see NICOLE? w-we heard her, an-"
"Sure..Somehow, I think she wants to see you, too."
As Sally and Mina entered the apartment, Mina cringed even more at the dirty look that Danny was giving her.
Inside, Sally and Mina found the apartment to be filled to the brim with all manner of technology.
a large flatscreen TV was intergrated into a wall (almost resembling a portrait),
and, there was also a flatscreen desktop computer, as well as a laptop some tablet computers nearby.
"WOW. this is..Wow." said Sally, awestruck.
"Well, you know..being Chief Technician at G.U.N. has It's perks." said Danny, proudly.
Mina looked to Danny. "So, where Is NICOLE??"
Danny responded with a dark scowled..which made Mina grow quiet.
"Danny, where is NICOLE?" asked Sally (trying to lighten the tension.)
"In her room..RESTING."
Sally was confused. "Resting?!"
"You'll find out."
Just then, one of the television screens on the wall fizzled..and, a digital image of NICOLE's face appeared.
(("DANNY. WHO WAS AT THE DOOR?!, I HEARD A-")) NICOLE then noticed Sally and Mina. (("PRINCESS SALLY!, MINA MONGOOSE!..WHAT A SURPRISE!!"))
"Hello, NICOLE..(eyes wetting) It's been too long, my dear friend." said Sally, feeling emotional.
Mina wanted to say something as well..but, felt too ashamed to utter a single word.
"Is It Okay if we come and see you?"
(("OF COURSE, SALLY. IN FACT, I HAVE A SURPRISE FOR YOU."))
"Really?! What!?" said Sally, curious.
(("COME SEE FOR YOURSELF.")) with that, NICOLE's Avatar disappeared from screen.
Danny crossed his arms, and sighed as he looked at the two Mobian girls. "well..Follow ME, then."
as Danny walked off, Mina stood near Sally. "I don't think he likes me very much."
"given that he is apparently NICOLE's friend, It makes sense he would hold a grudge against you..just like I used to."
Mina looked down, sadly. "and, who can blame him?"
Sally and Mina finally followed Danny into another room.
Alex then opened a door..and, inside was NICOLE, laying in a large, soft bed.
NICOLE looked over..and, smiled. "Sally..Mina. So good to see both again." said NICOLE, as she sat up in bed.
Mina once again looked down, feeling shame and regret sweeping over her.
Sally then approached the bed where NICOLE was laying. "oh, NICOLE..I missed you so much!"
NICOLE smiled warmly. "I missed you too, Sally. but, as I told you on Angel Island: I needed some time to myself to figure out my place in this world.."
NICOLE then frowned, looking down. "but..given that the Council of Acorn voted to Exile me from New Mobotropolis. I suppose It was for the best."
both Sally and Mina frowned at this. Sally then looked at NICOLE. "NICOLE..We want you back."
NICOLE looked at Sally. "what?"
"The recently crowned "King Naugus" hasn't been doing a very good job
at protecting New Mobotropolis with his 'Crystal Magic.'
The council is deliberating..BUT, It seems likely they will overturn your exile, and arrange your return to us."
Before NICOLE could say anything, Danny did. "The COUNCIL of Acorn..You mean the SAME council who voted to throw away the one "PERSON" who helped fight for their freedom in the old Robotnik War,
and, instrumentally saved all their ungrateful, furry hides when the Egg Fleet bombarded Knothole!?,
thus granting them back the city that Eggman all but destroyed, and selflessly PROTECTED them!"
NICOLE looked at the angry Human. "Danny, PLEASE.."
"NO, Nicole..I WON'T." said Danny, sternly..yet, Compassionately "You gave It your all to protect those..(alright, I'm gonna say It) ANIMALS!
and, now they have the GALL to say that they "want you back",
all because they only just NOW realized that they 'bet on the wrong horse' with Ixis Naugus."
Sally swallowed a bit. "n-nothing is certain yet..b-but, It may turn out that way."
Danny was in total disgust at this. "spineless fools."
"DANNY." Danny looked to NICOLE..who looked at him with stern, yet pleading eyes. "please..don't."
Danny looked at her..then, exhaled sharply. "fine."
NICOLE "exhaled" as she faced Sally again. "As much as I would love to return back to New Mobotropolis, Sally..I am afraid I must respectfully decline such an offer."
Both Sally and Mina were stunned at this. "wa-What?!, WHY!?"
Mina stepped up. "Look, If It's because me, I'm really-!!"
"No, I just have.."Greater" responsibilities now."
Sally looked puzzled. "what KIND, exactly? What is more important than returning to safeguard our city!?"
NICOLE was silent..then, looked to Danny. "Danny..dear, could you-"
"of course, hon." with that, Danny walked over to the bed.
as he gripped the front end of the blanket, and gently pulled It back...Sally and Mina were shocked to see how perfectly 'round' NICOLE's waist had become.
"I am presently the maternal vessel of a post-embryonic lifeform." began NICOLE. "OR, to put simply..I am Pregnant."
Sally and Mina were both still speechless, their mouths gaped open.
as Danny covered NICOLE back up, Sally finally found her voice. "b-but..But, HOW!? I mean..y-you are a..UHH-"
"a Computer Program given semi-physical form via A.D.A.M.'s Nanites?" finished NICOLE. "I WAS, but not anymore."
Danny chose this time to speak. "When Nicole first came to G.U.N. several months ago. she was quite lost, scared and confused.
despite being as far away as she could get from Mobotropolis, she STILL felt haunted by the "things they said about her." said Danny, who looked right at Mina as she spoke his last line.
"She was afraid that with her self-replicating nanite body, she was "too powerful"
and, feared that she might lose control again, and hurt innocent people. continued Danny.
"So..she requested that GUN give her a new body. one that was 'less powerful', and easier to 'destroy' if we ever had to."
Mina felt terrible now. knowing full well the hand she had in this relevation.
Sally looked at Danny, feeling that she (somewhat) understood what had happened. "you?"
Danny nodded. "As GUN's "gadget man", I was the only logical choice."
"That still doesn't explain NICOLE's apparent pregnancy." said Sally "Even if you built her a new robot body, She couldn't be-"
"She could with Hope Kintobor's newest creation: "BioMech."
Sally eyed the human. "Bio-What??"
"Biological Mechanics." continued Danny. "AKA "BioMech", It's the theory of constructing robots, or Mechanical Parts with organic properties."
"Why would you need something like THAT!?" asked Sally. "No offense of course, I am just wondering."
"If you believe It, Hope originally developped It to help E-123 "OMEGA" understand humanity better." Danny then grumbled. "course, the higher ups didn't see much point in a Robot that could feel Pain and Pleasure, so It was shelved in our Archives."
"Anyway..after NICOLE informed us of her "rebirth" from her prior contact with the Master Emerald on Angel Island,
I was inspired to use Hope's BioMech technology to give Nicole a new body that was a perfect blend of Flesh and Metal."
NICOLE groaned as she repositioned herself in bed. "I have the same attributes that I did prior as an A.I..only NOW, I have similar biology to a typical Mobian."
NICOLE then rubbed her expanded belly. "including the natural biological ability..to create life."
Sally looked at NICOLE..then, smiled happily. "I guess all I can say is..I'M SO HAPPY FOR YOU, NICOLE!!" Sally then hugged her lifelong friend.
"As am I, Sally..I am VERY excited at the prospect of being a Motherly Unit for my protoform."
Sally chuckled at NICOLE's "Computer Speak", despite her regaining her lost humanity.
she then parted, and asked the only other question now lingering in her mind: "Sooo..I Gotta know: Whose the father?!"
NICOLE smiled warmly. "a man who I trust with all my mechanical heart and silicon soul..a man who truly understands me." NICOLE then pointed at Danny. "Him."
Sally looked at the overlander. "You!?"
"Is that so surprising?, I thought you didn't mind Human/Anthro relationships."
"I don't. It's just..well. th-This is all so sudden, is all."
Danny shrugged. "Fine. I guess that's understandable."
Sally looked to NICOLE. "If you don't mind me asking, Nicole. just..How did this happen?! I mean..You haven't been away THAT long."
Nicole smiled, the spoke: "It was a.."gradual process", to say the least.
As Danny gave me my new body, he was charged by Comm. Abraham Tower to help me "ajust."
which Danny did..by showing me around Westopolis, and being something that I hadn't had in a long time: a friend."
NICOLE looked to Danny. "Danny, should I-"
"Go ahead, Nikki. You can tell them." said Danny, his tone low.
Sally was puzzled at this, but remained silent as NICOLE continued.
"As our friendhsip grew..my restored memories of my "past life" as Nikki began to return.
I..I remembered my father, Dr. Ellidy, and..I-I wanted to see him again."
NICOLE shed a tear as she recalled the "adventure."
"Following what little information that we had,
Danny secretly took me to locate my father's whereabouts in the far off mountains..
but, we encountered..resistance."
NICOLE looked to Sally. "Regina Ferrum..the IRON QUEEN."
Mina jumped upon hearing that name. as It was SHE who caused all this trouble.
"And, she wasn't alone..Snively Robotnik was with her.
BOTH intending to take their mutual revenge on me for the Iron Queen's prior defeat."
"Why was Snively involved?!" said Mina, breaking her silence. "I mean..I understand he would be pissed at us for beating him, and Eggman again, but WHY the Iron Queen!!?"
"because the sawed off little runt is IN LOVE with her, That's what! (and, somehow Regina feels the same way, too.)" said Danny, in Disgust.
Both Mina and Sally cringed at this. Finding the very idea of Snively and the Iron Queen
being "romantic" even more disturbing than Dr. Eggman in a speedo.
"yes, well..As I was saying, The Iron Queen was hellbent on killing me." said Nicole.
Sally was shocked and frightened to hear this. "h-How did you survive her Magitek Powers!?"
Nicole bore an unreadable expression on her face. "My new body offered some resistance..but, not enough.
she came close to ripping me apart. One component at a time."
"But, Danny stopped him..Right?" said Sally, understanding the story.
NICOLE nodded "Yes. yes, he did."
"How?!" said Mina, confused. "Even when she acted alone WITHOUT Eggman's "Dark Egg Legion", It was a struggle for Sonic, and the other Freedom Fighters to even slow her down!"
"Regina Ferrum made a colossal error in calculation." said NICOLE. "She believed that she was the only Technokinetic Human left alive on Mobius."
Danny chose this moment to wave an energized hand..making varied electronic equipment in the room flicker and static for a brief moment.
This left Sally and Mina quite stunned.
"Regina and I grew up in the same town, at a time when "Techomages" were plentiful. That is how I knew her." began Danny.
"When the city outlawed the practice of "Technological Manipulation",
and began executed those posessing the power, many survivors fled..including Regina, and myself.
Despite a similar upbringing, and suffering the same tragedies..we both took different paths in our lives.
whilst SHE embraced the pagan ways of the Technomage Cult, I used my power for SCIENCE, not Black Magic.
G.U.N. eventually learned of my unique talents..but, instead of executing me
like those of my old hometown did, they sought to recruit me as a "special agent."
I could hardly deny the chance to use my "Magitek" powers to do something good..unlike REGINA."
"Anyway, the Iron Queen was not ready to be assaulted by a fellow Technokinetic." continued NICOLE. "Outmatched, and Overwhelmed, she and Snively were forced to abandon their attack and retreat."
Sally looked at Danny. "Sure wish you were around when the Iron Dominion attacked us."
"So do I." said Danny, darkly. "Maybe if I DID, Regina would've never gotten her claws into NICOLE, and maybe SHE would have never suffered the things I once did."
Sally looked puzzled. "You once-"
"FEAR and HATRED compelled the people of my hometown to turn on me." said Danny, his voice sounding all too much like a certain "black hedgehog." "As Friends and Neighbors alike turned on me, I was driven away from the only home I knew..Sound FAMILIAR?!"
Both Sally and Mina had to agree: Danny's ordeal DID seem eerly similar to what NICOLE went through, recently.
"With the Iron Queen driven away, I was successful in reaching my father..(sighs sadly) just in time to be with him in his final moments."
"whut?!" said Sally, stunned.
NICOLE shivered as emotions swept over her like a surge.
"my f-father, he..he was VERY ill. Dying from the same affliction that claimed "my life", before.
we..reconciled. I told him I remembered everything, now..and, he-(voice breaking) he t-told me that he loved me..(sobs, choke) and, then he died."
As NICOLE began to cry louder, Danny took a tissue and began to wipe her eyes. "there-there, Nikki..It's okay."
NICOLE gripped her facem, tears seeping through her black furred hands.
Sally and Mina grew concerned. "N-Nicole-"
"I'm f-fine..(clears throat) j-just fine. I was..Emotional, is all."
Sally exhaled sharply. "So..you and Danny, yo-"
"We became closer after my father's death." continued NICOLE. "He soon began to open up to me, share HIS private pains..
It wasn't long until we..well, you know." Nicole showed her pregnant belly again.
Sally smiled warmly at NICOLE. "I'm glad you've finally found happiness, NICOLE."
NICOLE smiled back..but, then frowned.
"yes..I am happy to have found love, and excited at the prospect of being a mother.
but..not everything is perfect. I wish my father was still alive..and, I do miss my old life in New Mobotropolis."
"Then, come back with us! We NEED you!!" exclaimed Mina.
Danny finally stepped up, and faced the Mongoose. "Nicole ISN'T. GOING. ANYWHERE!"
"You heard me, SONGGOOSE. NICOLE isn't about to go back to being some "Sentinel Program."
she is a now a LIVING, THINKING Anthro Being. You may need her to cover all your asses, but she DOESN'T need you mistreating and BETRAYING her again!!"
Mina froze in fear as the Overlander towers over her..his eyes somehow bearing a striking resemblance to the Iron Queen.
"Danny, STOP!" exclaimed NICOLE.
"NO!, Nicole!! This HAS to be said. While I don't regret allowed Princess Sally in here,
I should NEVER have let this backstabbing, hate-mongering MONGOOSE into our home!"
Mina looked down sadly. "yes..Yes, It's true. I turned everyone against NICOLE..(looks up at Danny) but, That was NEVER my intent, EVER!!"
Danny looked down at Mina coldly. "Oh, no?"
At that moment, Danny's eyes flashed white..and, a familiar muscical track began playing in surround sound.
'I LIE AWAKE IN MY BED..JUSt CAN'T SLEEP, FULL OF DREAD.'
Mina widened her eyes in horror as she heard her own voice "no..No, stop. STOPPIT!!"
'WILL THE NIGHTMARES COME FOR ME THIIIIIIIS TIME!?
IN THE DAY, IN THE NIGHT, NEVER KNOWING, FULL OF FRIGHT!
WHY WON'T ANYONE LIIIIIIIIIIIIIISTEN!!?'
"PLEASE!!" pleaded Mina. "Turn It off..(shouting) TURN THAT SHIT OFF!!!"
"NO!!" bellowed Danny, his eyes surging with Magitek energy. "You WILL listen to EVERY word..and, Understand what You've done."
Mina fell to her knees as her horrible song continued to play.
tears flowing down her cheeks as her guilt and self-loathing returned anew.
'I CAN'T ALWAYS BE JUMPING AT SHAAAAAAAAAADOWS!!
I CAN'T ALWAYS BE RUNNING AWAAAAAAAAY!!!
I WON'T BE AFRAID, I'LL SAVE MYSELF!
I WON'T BE AFRAID, I'LL SAVE MYSELF!!'
"DANNY, STOP THIS! THIS IS CRUEL!!" exclaimed Sally
"Anymore cruel than when Mina made Nicole CRY, and made everyone HATE her with her Siren Song!?" said Danny, bitterly.
'SHE'S EVERYWHERE!, EVERYTHING!!
BUT, HEROES AREN'T LISTENING!!
WE'RE ALL LEFT PRONE, UNPROTEEEEECTED!!
IT'S PAINFULLY OB-VI-OUS THEY WON'T ACT!!
IT'S UP TO US!!, WE WON'T LIVE IN FEAR OF THE CIIIIIIIIIITY!!!'
Mina's eyes were wide open as her tears flowed freely.
though an old song, she felt she was hearing It for the very first time..
and, It was torture. for, It became all too clear just what kind of "evil" had had done to her friend.
"stop it..PLEASE!!, NO MORE!, I BEG OF YOU!! (screaming) NO MOOOOOOOOOORE!!!"
While Danny had no intention in halting Mina's "punishment"
he glanced at NICOLE..and, seeing that pained look her eyes..finally stopped.
once the music finally stopped, Mina breathed heavily.
she looked up at Danny..who towered over the Mongoose,
staring down at her like a Mobini snake looks at a mouse before striking.
Mina herself was on her hands and knees..as if she were "slave" to this Overlander.
"So, what exactly WAS your intent, Mongoose!?" said Danny, demanding an answer.
Mina slowly rose up to her knees, still in tears. "I..I was only trying to..s-send a message."
"Well, you CERTAINLY did that: "Nicole is the Enemy."
"NO!!" exclaimed Mina, rising up to her feet. "I was trying to RALLY everyone, EMPOWER them to stand up and FIGHT!"
"And, they did..AGAINST NICOLE. She gave you ALL a home, and you "rewarded" her by robbing her of her OWN."
Danny's words stung at Mina like a thousand wasp stings.
for, though dripping with Icy Venom, they spoke the truth.
"and, NOW, you say you "Need Her Back!?" continued Danny, his anger not letting up. "and, just WHAT will happen when you no longer "need her", HUH!?
I suppose you will return her back to her original "handheld computer" form, and seal her away in a lab, somewhere."
"NO!, We would never-!"
"I know YOU wouldn't, Sally..but, can you honestly say the same for your Council?!..or KING NAUGUS!!?"
Sally wanted to protest..but, could find no compelling arguement.
Danny then glared at Mina again. "I will NOT let you BETRAY, and ABUSE Nicole again. She is staying HERE where she is SAFE, has a HOME..and, friends who are LOYAL."
Sally looked to NICOLE. "Nicole..do you agree with Danny?"
Nicole looked at Sally, then to Mina..Danny, and finally back to Sally, again.
"I am sorry, Sally. As much as I miss New Mobotropolis, AND you and the Freedom Fighters..Danny speaks the truth.
You all may need me today..but, what of tomorrow?
and, then there is my unborn child to consider: If I am betrayed, and sealed away forever..what will become of my child, then?!"
Sally paused, realising the true danger now in bringing NICOLE back at such a delicate time.
"The world ALREADY has mixed feelings about Human and Anthro Hybrids.." began Danny. "But, Nicole's will also be PART MACHINE, and will suffer a far worse fate than the normal Hybrid children who have been appearing lately."
Sally thought for a moment..THEN, her ears perked up as she got an idea. "What if we managed to have Nicole restored with NO STRINGS ATTACHED?!
what if we could guarentee the safety of not just Nicole..but, your child as well!?"
Danny smirked as he crossed his arms. "If you managed to do THAT, I would be VERY impressed."
"Then, I will. I PROMISE I will!"
"You'll pardon me if I don't hold my breath. I know for a fact that Fear and Hatred can be a powerful force..and, one not as easy to destroy as It is to create."
Sally bore a stern expression. "We have to at LEAST try. You are right, Nicole gave her ALL for us when we needed her to..It's time we gave something BACK."
"Damn STRAIGHT!" said Danny, in an equally stern tone.
Sally then exhaled..then, walked back to NICOLE. "Nicole..just hang in there. I'll set things right."
Nicole smiled. "Yes..I know you will."
Sally hugged Nicole..then, turned and began to leave the room.
Mina then approached Nicole, her body trembling. "n-n-Nicole..I am SO SORRY!, I-I didn't mean for..I didn't-"
NICOLE just bore a sad look on her face..which only broke Mina even more. "nicole..I'm sorry. Please forgive me."
NICOLE exhaled sharply. "I..f-forgive you, Mina. I'm just..not sure if I can trust you right now."
Mina's heart ached at this. and, yet, deep down..she knew she deserved It.
after what she did to NICOLE, she had no right to call herself "her friend."
Mina quickly turned to Danny. "Isn't there ANYTHING I can do to make things right!?"
"UNDO the damage that you've already done." replied Danny, in a demanding tone. "You started this with your music..so, use your music to end it once and for all."
Danny then lowered down, and glared right into Mina's eyes. "and, don't you DARE return to this place until you do.
If you defy me..I will have you ARRESTED!, and I don't think an Anthro like YOU wants to spend a day in a Human prison. UNDERSTAND?!"
Mina swallowed hard..then, nodded silently. "y-yes. I-I-I do."
Minia finally walked away, and soon left the apartment with Sally.
Once gone, Danny exhaled sharply. "I know what you are going to say..and, I suppose you are right: I may have gone a bit too far replaying that song."
"oh, Danny..I know you only wish to protect me." began Nicole, her tone calm. "but, sometimes..your OWN Fear and Anger can cloud your judgement as It did to the ones who hurt me in the first place."
the human sighed sharply as he returned to his pregnant girlfriend's side. "I'm sorry, hon. I'm sorry that I reopened old wounds."
Nicole smiled at Danny. "It's okay. The pain may linger, but It doesn't hurt as badly as It once did."
Danny breathed out..then, spoke again. "Thank you, Nicole."
"For when you revealed to the Princess of me growing up with Regina Ferrum..and, DIDN'T reveal that she is really my sister."
NICOLE paused..then, spoke softly. "Your secret is yours to tell..REX."
Danny/Rex tensed his muscles upon hearing his old, former name.
"I am sorry. I know how you feel about your old name."
Danny glanced at Nicole..then exhaled again. "I don't hate my name..nor, do I hate my sister, either.
I just hate what she's become..and, all she's done to you."
"Danny..I REALLY think you should reach out to her."
"My sister is DEAD, Nikki..and, so is her brother." said Danny, darkly.
NICOLE pasued..then, spoke sternly: "Danny..REX. just because someone stumbles, and loses their way..It doesn't mean they are lost FOREVER.
Danny looked at NICOLE.
"You said It yourself." began NICOLE. "You and Regina were born, raised and driven off from the same place.
SHE took the path vengeance, while YOU followed a different path. The path of Forgiveness, and Redemption.
she needs you, Danny..she NEEDS you to show her a better path. the RIGHT path."
Danny turned away, his arms crossed as he stared off.
"We all need a little help, sometimes." finished NICOLE.
Danny looked at NICOLE again. "When the day comes that I can be proud to call her my sister again..THEN, you can called me "Rex Furrum", again.
but, until that day comes..I am just "Danny Flynn."
NICOLE sighed..then, smiled. "well..It's a START, at least."
Danny took NICOLE's hand, and gently kissed It.
he then removed the blanket, and place a faintly charged hand upon the surface of her tight waist.
NICOLE smiled at this. "So..what is our child's vital statistics?"
"Well..It's a Boy, is developing well." began Danny. "I can sense a heartbeat, and..Brainwave Activity."
"So..he not only lives, but he is thinking, too." mused NICOLE.
Danny smiled as he removed his hand. "he'll be beautiful, Nikki.
NICOLE smiled..then, embraced Danny tightly. Danny did the same.
'I wanted to heal, I wanted to feel, Now I have something real.
I found what I wanted all along..
Somewhere I belong.
I have healed. I can feel, I'm right where I belong..Right where I belong.'